The first public monument of the anatomic clitoris, comprised of text on panels and figurative works crafted in marble to be installed for permanent exhibition in public space. The monument seeks to establish the clitoris as a symbol in art history and visual culture, include the clitoris in discourses of the body, provide fundamental dignity to an organ that is routinely negated and derided, educate, as very few including those with advanced degrees, know the true anatomy of the clitoris.
This monument is needed as there is still widespread harm to the clitoris specifically and the vulva in general. From visual culture which negates the clitoris through omission, to everyday profanity which uses the name of female/non-binary/trans genitals as signifiers of weakness and disgust, to the ongoing violence from rape to female genital cutting impacting more than 200 million women and girls globally. Male artists have succeeded in creating monumental, funded, publicly installed sculptures of female genitalia. These works often grotesquely exaggerate the vaginal opening and reify the negation of the clitoris by excluding it. Sophia Wallace’s monument will be constructed from precious, long lasting marble and presented with aesthetic rigor. It will address a glaring absence in public understanding of bodies. Our present day context is rife with the phallus and venerates the obelisk. Public sculpture celebrates individual men in history and prizes women as young, generic sex objects over actual women of accomplishment. The monument creates a public space to recognize that this part of the body exists and deserves respect. It will confront the continued false construction of female genitals. Finally, it will help chip away at the stigma around vulvas which has given immunity to most who target them with sexual violence. The project began in 2012, and encompasses installation, sculpture, performance, street art, murals, social practice initiatives, viral features, and many public talks, with a monograph in progress.